Abbotsford and Mission have the highest proportion of children in Canada, according to information released by Statistics Canada.
The Abbotsford-Mission Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) ranked number one out of the 33 CMAs in the country with a rate of 19 per cent of its population under the age of 14.
In Canada, the rate is 16.8 per cent while in B.C. it’s 15.4 per cent.
“As you can see, Abbotsford is a young community,” said Jonathan Chagnon of Statistics Canada.
Breaking the numbers down further, he said the area also ranks fourth for children in the age group of zero to four, with 6.3 per cent. The Canadian average is 5.6 per cent and in B.C. it is only five per cent.
Those numbers show a trend across the country.
“In Canada, the proportion of young children from zero to four has increased, and it’s the largest increase since the end of the baby boom,” said Chagnon.
On the other end of the spectrum, Abbotsford-Mission seniors (65 and older) represent 14.1 per cent of the population, ranking 19th out of 33 CMAs.
The Canadian average for seniors is 14.8 per cent, while in B.C. it’s 15.7.
This area ranked 29th out of 33 for working age (15-64 years old) population with 66.9 per cent. The Canadian average is 68.5 while in B.C. it is 69 per cent.
“That can be related to the fact that there is a higher proportion of children so the other groups are smaller,” explained Chagnon.
Other data contained in the 2011 Census report breaks down the numbers for the City of Abbotsford alone.
It indicates the median age of an Abbotsford resident is 37.9 years old, less than the Canadian median of 40.6 years and the provincial average of 41.9. It is also lower than the Fraser Valley average of 39.6.
The median age is the point where exactly half of the population is older than the figure and half is younger.
The median age for Abbotsford males is 36.7 years old while the female age is 38.9.
Abbotsford’s population stats break down to 25,330 people age zero to 14 (a 1.4 per cent increase from 2006). That includes 8,530 people between the ages of zero to four, 8,245 age five to nine and 8,550 age 10-14.
The rest of the numbers include 88,465 people age 15 to 64 (eight per cent increase from 2006) and 19,700 age 65 and over (13.7 per cent increase).
There are 5,630 more people under the age of 14 than over the age of 65.
Abbotsford is home to 65,870 males and 67,625 females.
The District of Mission has 18,335 males and 18,095 females. The median age in Mission is 39.3 years (males 38.7 years and females 40 years).
Jay Teichroeb, Abbotsford’s general manager for economic development and planning, said the statistics are not surprising.
Abbotsford has historically been a young, family-oriented community.
He said the information released by Statistics Canada is “very important” to the city.
“These stats are the basis upon which we try to prepare for the future and make long-term decisions.”
In Canada, seniors accounted for 14.8 per cent of the population in 2011, up from 13.7 per cent in 2006. However, the proportion of seniors in Canada remained among the lowest of the G8 countries.
The number of children aged 14 and under fell from 17.7 per cent in 2006 to 16.7 per cent in 2011.
The census counted 5,607,345 children aged 14 and under, compared with 4,945,060 seniors. In the working-age population, the census counted 22,924,300 people.
Canada’s working-age population is also growing older. Within the working-age group, 42.4 per cent of people were aged between 45 and 64, a record high proportion. This was well above the proportion of 28.6 per cent in 1991, when the first baby boomers reached age 45.
For the first time, census data showed that there were more people in the age group 55 to 64, where people typically are about to leave the labour force, than in the age group 15 to 24, where people typically are about to enter it.
The 2011 Census counted 4,393,305 people aged 55 to 64. In contrast, there were 4,365,585 people aged 15 to 24.
The population of children aged four and under increased 11 per cent between 2006 and 2011. This was the highest growth rate for this age group since the 1956 to 1961 period, during the baby boom.
The 2011 Census counted 5,825 people aged 100 years and older, up from 4,635 in 2006 and 3,795 in 2001.